If you’re a chronic snorer or suffer from certain sleep disorders you could be at an increased risk of developing dementia, new research suggests.
Having sleep issues such as snoring and other types of sleep apnea can have negative effects on brain health in the long term, according to a study by researchers at New York University and published in the journal Neurology.
For the study, researchers looked at the medical histories of 2,470 people, who were aged between 55 and 90. They found that people who have breathing problems while sleeping had an earlier decline in memory and other brain functions than those who did not.
People who suffered from sleep problems related to breathing were diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment at an average age of 77, while those with breathing problems did not see a decline in these functions until age 90. That’s over a decade’s difference.
Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts and may cause loud snoring. Breathing pauses can last from a few seconds to minutes, and can occur up to 30 times or more an hour.